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Rising U.S. Earnings Inequality and Family Labor Supply: The Covariance Structure of Intrafamily Earnings

  • Dean R. Hyslop

This paper studies the labor supply contributions to individual and family earnings inequality during the period of rising wage inequality in the early 1980's. Working couples have positively correlated labor market outcomes, which are almost entirely attributable to permanent factors. An intertemporal family labor supply model with this feature is used to estimate labor supply elasticities for husbands of 0.05, and wives of 0.40. This implies that labor supply explains little of the rising annual earnings inequality for married men, but over 20 percent of the rise in family inequality and 50 percent of the modest rise in female inequality.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 91 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 755-777

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:91:y:2001:i:4:p:755-777
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.4.755
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  1. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  2. Johnson, Terry R & Pencavel, John H, 1984. "Dynamic Hours of Work Functions for Husbands, Wives, and Single Females," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 363-89, March.
  3. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
  4. Ashenfelter, Orley & Card, David, 1985. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 648-60, November.
  5. John Fitzgerald & Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1997. "An Analysis of Sample Attrition in Panel Data: The Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 394, Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. Rebecca M. Blank & David Card, 1993. "Poverty, Income Distribution, and Growth: Are They Still Connected," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 285-340.
  7. Ashenfelter, Orley & Ham, John, 1979. "Education, Unemployment, and Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S99-116, October.
  8. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
  9. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  10. repec:oup:restud:v:47:y:1980:i:1:p:47-74 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, December.
  12. David Card, 1990. "Intertemporal Labor Supply: An Assessment," Working Papers 649, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  14. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S176-S215, June.
  15. Hause, John C, 1980. "The Fine Structure of Earnings and the On-the-Job Training Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1013-29, May.
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